Back to School Cinema: THE BREAKFAST CLUB

breakfast-club-movie-poster1The Back to School Cinema week ends with what may be the only school film to be set on a Saturday, 1985’s The Breakfast Club.  Written and directed by John Hughes, this Chicago-area high school film both exploits and explodes high school stereotypes.

As the nerd, the jock, the stoner, the loner and the princess, five tackle teen issues during detention in an upscale high school library.  It has to be upscale – it has a Henry Moore sculpture in it.  (It is a copy of Standing Figure Knife Edge which sits in downtown Little Rock.)

It seems like pretty much every Hollywood actor under the age of 25 was considered for one of the five roles in this movie. The lucky five – Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy – helped define their generation of actors. Their work together in this movie and others helped create the brand of the Brat Pack.

Borrowing a concept nearly as old as time, Hughes pits five unlikely strangers against each other in a confined space. While united against Paul Gleason’s sadistic principal, they also grapple with ever-shifting alliances and antagonists.  It is no surprise that each student discovers the others are equally unhappy and uncertain, but that doesn’t lessen the charm and emotional tug of the movie.